The Conservatives want to eliminate the political subsidy and so force political parties to raise their "own money". As usual, Harper is only thinking of what political advantage could be gained and not at all about what is good for the country. He is also being dishonest. Canada has long subsidized political parties by making political contributions tax deductible and the amount of money being subsidized by the Canadian tax payer is equal to the amount given out to the political party as part of the per vote subsidy. If we are going to eliminate a subsidy, it should be this one.
There are two reasons defending the per vote subsidy. The first is obvious. Making the political parties more beholden to those with money is a bad idea. However the Conservatives have partially neutralized this argument by limiting the amount any individual can contribute and by forbidding corporations and unions from making contributions. The second is less obvious and needs to be repeatedly explained to the public and to pundits alike. The more emphasis placed on fundraising, the less time politicians have to spend dealing with issues and serving the community. The extreme case is what is happening in the US. Bill Clinton lamented that an ever increasing amount of time was occupied by fundraising and by the end of second term it occupied most of his time and the time of most senators. That was more than 10 years ago. Things are 100 times worse now. We want our politicians believing that politically it is more advantageous for them to spend time representing their ridings and hearing the concerns of their constituents than it is giving speeches at series of $100 dollar a plate fundraising dinners.
We also want to see people be nominated by virtue of what talents they have and not by virtue of what kind of wealthy friends are in their Rolodex.